It was late in 1992 that I discovered and promptly devoured the ElfQuest novels. You probably noticed the big-eyed influence in the last post, and probably the hair, too. I looked at the EQ drawings and totally clicked with the hair. What I didn't show you (aren't YOU grateful) are the several dozen copies I did, ranging through the good, the bad and the very ugly. Learned the hard way that ink over heavy prismacolor isn't easy. Utterly fell in love with inking in general.
My similar-minded, geeky HS friends started up a Holt. I gleefully joined. Did someone say 'project?' Mostly, we created characters, wrote gawdawful stories about them, did sparring with padded sticks, got together in costumes and... I don't know what we did, exactly. Some members complained that we didn't do 'holty' enough stuff, some members thought we were too strict about doing 'holty' stuff. It was a pretty good group of folks, but really all over the spectrum. One thing, started by one of the more leader-y types, was the newsletter. At that point, I'd never heard of a fanzine, but that's really what it was. The initial issue had some poetry, an opinion piece... I don't really remember, it was short, but it was love at first sight! THIS was what I wanted to do! That leader-y guy (honestly, these people might not WANT to be immortalized by name here... :P At least three of them are on my friendslist, but I won't point fingers) quit to investigate some religious leanings, and handed the reigns to me.
I'll be the first to admit it. I was obsessive. I am, have you noticed? Obsessive gets it done, and holy moly, I loved this 'zine. It was called Currents (you RWH folks are probably going 'huh?' but really, it was just a coincidence, and makes me wonder how many EQ Holts used the name in some manner), our Holt was Shattered Rivers.
We put out six issues between 1993 and 1994 before the internal structure of the Holt (and stuff like graduation and real lives) tore up the group. A seventh issue tied things up and said farewell several months later, in 1995.
A lot of the art I did during this time was for this fanzine. It was ink, mostly small filler pieces, and mostly of my character, Solo. Solo, bless her heart, is a complete humiliation. All those things we mock Internet newbies for? I did 'em. She was me, with all my features, but an elf, with a tragic, dark past, and all these *quirks* that made her 'special' and 'unique.' I wrote a comic for her arrival at our holt - you've never read anything so angsty, and you won't get a chance to read this one. Unfortunately, I can't find it, or I'd drag that dirty underwear out, too! I have no shame! I never finished it, except in pencils, realizing at some point that it *really* wasn't worth it.
So, here's the art:
Here's Solo, one of the earliest versions. I went so far as to make that outfit, and I would occassionally wear it to school. This was not particularly odd for me - half of my wardrobe was fantasy-related. I had a selection of long skirts, mock-corsets, poofy shirts, funky jewelry, odd accessories and stuff that I would come up with, buy material for, and beg my mother into sewing. She was great! I was very lucky to have parents that - while they surely thought I was more than a little weird - were greatly supportive of all the crazy stuff I was into.
These were the kinds of things I'd do for the 'zine. Note the border-esque layout to them. This is an important step into my stationery designing, and later sales. I always find it baffling when people ask 'how'd you start your business?' because I don't know how far back to go... Here? Further back? More on that when we get to the next fandom.
Note that my inking, both here and on the border above, is still pretty sketchy. I hadn't quite grasped the concept of clean lines. Editing the newsletter *really* helped nail that point home, because I could see the original and the aftermath, and copiers at this time were not all that hot on picking up sketchy detail.
Big eyes. BIG eyes.
This was after a billion copies and a lot of stiff, standing-there sorts of poses. You can only do that so long before you start trying out some action.
This is not a particularly shining example of my talent, but it is pretty funny - this is mizkit, at her surprise party. She was one of the folks we sucked into the fringes of the Holt - she was older than us and probably thought we were a little quaint and silly, but humored us well. She gave me artwork for the newsletter, so she's way high in my books. (Nagging people about getting artwork in for XX is not a new thing for me, by any means... consider it a highly honed skill.) Anyway, Catie was really cute about being surprised. :)
These were the main female players in our Holt, I think... Solo and Nightfire are center, from left in front, Skyblade, Stormdancer and... um... Smokeberry? I think. Creeping up in the back is Lodestar. Is that right? Not sure about that one.
As the year went on, I worked on refining my inking style - cleaning up the lines a bit.
It was also about this time that I discovered Mercedes Lackey. Her books are like candy - all fluff and hard to put down. I got immediately sucked into her fanclub, Queen's Own, which is still alive and kicking online. Through this fanclub, I got penpals. Internet and email were still something that college administrators and die-hard geeks only knew about. We had a computer (because my father fell into the former... possibly the latter, too), but I mostly used it to write really awful stuff and play single-player, text-based RPGs before they were popular. They had some graphics, now that I think about it, but just weren't fancy. You booted the computer from a floppy. A 5" floppy. None of this Windoze stuff, you had to know the commands to boot the computer, or you just got a blinky command prompt and nothing happened. I AM old. >.<
It was mostly the Valdemar setting that I played in. I created a character, Calliste, who was, at least LESS of a Mary Sue than Solo. In fact, I'd learned a lot. Calliste was short and a little dumpy and had freckles and was unbearably cheerful and probably Resla (we'll get to her in a year or two) picked up a few of her traits. Don't think she didn't have angst! But it was less.
This was my best friend's character, Danae, and my character's best friend. (Yes, this and Tolnam, below are both from 1992, actually - I just found another sketchbook, but they were at least late 1992. I think. I honestly wasn't great about dating stuff, and would often sketch things and go back and work on them later.)
This is Calliste. I don't paint much with acrylics, but I tried a few this year. Canvas board, 8 x 10.
In part to make up for my incredible restraint with Calliste, I had to make her a good, seriously angsty love interest. He's blind, and oh, so noble and tragic.
I did some pieces like this - something between pencil linework and actual shading.
For Queen's Own, the club newsletter, which was all news and member announcements, no fan drivel, I did borders. The border on the right was Calliste, the border on the left was based on the star-eyed goddess, and became one of the pilot stationery designs for EMG.
More on that tomorrow!